PUNE (Maharashtra): Pune based Serum Institute of India has entered into a new landmark partnership with Gavi, The Vaccine Alliance and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, to accelerate the manufacturing and delivery of up to 100 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines for India and low- and middle-income countries.
The Serum Institute of India @SerumInstIndia is the world’s largest vaccine maker & is currently partnering on a global mission to make #covid19 vaccines available for all. Great convo with CEO @adarpoonawalla pic.twitter.com/Z40VNJr7Ig
— Julia Chatterley (@jchatterleyCNN) July 23, 2020
I would like to thank @BillGates, @gatesfoundation, @GaviSeth for this key partnership of risk sharing and manufacturing of a 100 million doses, which will also ensure equitable access at an affordable price to many countries around the world. https://t.co/NDmpo23Ay8 pic.twitter.com/jNaNh6xUPy
— Adar Poonawalla (@adarpoonawalla) August 7, 2020
For this, the Gates Foundation will provide at-risk funding of $150 million to GAVI, which will then be used to support the Serum Institute of India to manufacture potential vaccine candidates, and for future procurement of vaccines for low- and middle-income countries via Gavi’s COVAX AMC. SII has set a ceiling price of $3 (approximately Rs 225) per dose.
“Too many times we have seen the most vulnerable countries left at the back of the queue when it comes to new treatments, diagnostics and vaccines,” said Dr Seth Berkley, CEO of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance.
“In an attempt to make our fight against COVID-19 stronger and all-embracing; SII has partnered with Gavi and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to advance the manufacturing and delivery of up to 100 million doses of future COVID vaccines for low and middle-income countries in 2021,” said Adar Poonawalla, CEO of SII.
“The rampant spread of the virus has rendered the entire world in an unimaginable halt of uncertainty. And to ensure maximum immunization coverage and contain the pandemic, it is important to make sure that the most remote and poorest countries of the world have access to affordable cure and preventive measures. Through this association, we seek to ramp up our constant efforts to save the lives of millions of people from this dreadful disease.”
SII shares a long history of successful partnerships with Gavi and pharmaceutical companies to manufacture vaccines that protect against meningitis, severe diarrhoea, pneumonia and measles. This collaboration further underscores India’s proven-track record in developing safe and quality vaccines.
Dr Renu Swarup, Secretary, Department of Biotechnology, Government of India, shared, “India has a proven track record of manufacturing safe and cost-effective vaccines not only for India but for the world. Over the last decade, the Government of India has encouraged innovation and supported the Indian vaccine industry to manufacture high quality, affordable indigenous tools and products to benefit India and the world. We are very happy to see SII enter this global partnership to respond to the global health crisis posed by Covid-19.”
Dr Balram Bhargava, Director General of Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), commented, “India’s has demonstrated consistent capability in delivering on low-cost and high-quality medical research, while also maintaining technical and scientific rigour. ICMR is deeply supportive of our cutting edge vaccine research and manufacturing prowess, of which SII is one prominent example. This partnership signifies yet another step in India’s efforts to bolster the fight against this global pandemic.”
The Gavi COVAX AMC, which is currently seeking at least US$ 2 billion in initial seed funding, will meet at least part of the cost of procurement for the vaccine doses. Last week the Gavi Board agreed the final list of 92 countries that will be supported by the AMC. Under the new collaboration, AstraZeneca’s candidate vaccine, if successful, will be available to 57 Gavi-eligible countries. Novavax’s candidate, if successful, will be available to all 92 countries supported by the AMC.
The collaboration between Gavi, SII, and the Gates Foundation supports the efforts of the ACT Accelerator’s vaccines pillar, also known as COVAX, co-led by Gavi, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) and the World Health Organization (WHO), to accelerate the development of COVID-19 vaccines and ensure rapid, global access to them. Decisions around investment in manufacturing are taken in close collaboration between these three lead organisations of the COVAX pillar.
Under the COVAX umbrella, Gavi is leading the COVAX Facility, which provides governments with the opportunity to benefit from a large portfolio of COVID-19 candidate vaccines using a range of technology platforms, produced by more manufacturers across the world, with a bigger market to provide security of demand. The Facility is reinforced by the AMC which provides funding for vaccines for lower-income countries.
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, via its Strategic Investment Fund, will provide at-risk funding of US$150 million to Gavi, which will be used to support the Serum Institute of India to manufacture potential vaccine candidates, and for future procurement of vaccines for low- and middle-income countries via Gavi’s COVAX AMC. The deal builds on a Memorandum of Understanding between AstraZeneca and Gavi, announced in June, which will guarantee 300 million doses of AstraZeneca’s candidate vaccine to the wider COVAX Facility, to be supplied upon licensure or prequalification. These two deals can help guarantee access to early doses for the most vulnerable on a truly global scale.
World Cotton Day: Smriti Irani Launches First-Ever Brand Logo For Indian Cotton
India’s premium Cotton would now be known as ‘Kasturi Cotton’ in the world cotton trade.
NEW DELHI: Smriti Zubin Irani, Union Minister of Textiles and Women & Child Development launched the 1st ever Brand & Logo for Indian Cotton on 2nd World Cotton Day on October 7, 2020, through Video Conferencing.
India’s premium Cotton would now be known as ‘Kasturi Cotton’ in the world cotton trade.
Hon’ble Minister of Textiles @smritiirani Ji launched the 1st ever Brand & Logo for Indian Cotton to be known as ‘Kasturi Cotton’ on occasion of 2nd World Cotton Day, 2020. The Brand will represent Whiteness, Brightness, Softness, Purity, Luster, Uniqueness and Indianness. pic.twitter.com/EDOJIY5UHU
— Ministry of Textiles (@TexMinIndia) October 7, 2020
The Kasturi Cotton brand will represent Whiteness, Brightness, Softness, Purity, Luster, Uniqueness and Indianness.
Speaking on this occasion, Irani said that this is a much-awaited moment that TODAY the Indian Cotton has been endowed with a Brand and Logo. This event becomes more important as the 2nd World Cotton Day is being celebrated world over today.
The Minister recounted the importance of Cotton in the Indian economy:
Cotton is one of the principal commercial crops of India and it provides livelihood to about 6o lakh cotton farmers.
India is the 2nd largest cotton producer and the largest consumer of cotton in the world.
India produces about 6.00 million tons of cotton every year which is about 23% of the world cotton.
India produces about 51% of the total organic cotton production of the world, which demonstrates India’s effort towards sustainability.
Smt. Irani said that to ensure sustainability, integrity and end-to-end traceability of the organic products, a certification system based on comparable international standards verified through an internationally acceptable institutional system is required to be put in place.
Accordingly, the Ministry of Textiles through APEDA under Ministry of Commerce and Industry has prescribed a certification system for organic Cotton which will be introduced in phases in the entire textile value chain.
Similarly, prescribing a certification system for non-organic Cotton has also been taken up with APEDA so that usages of cotton can be suitably augmented.
The Minister stated that Cotton Corporation of India (CCI) made ever highest Minimum Support Price (MSP) operation of cotton and hopeful that during the new cotton season, the procurement under MSP will be increased.
CCI has opened 430 procurement centres in all cotton-growing states and payments are being made digitally to farmers’ account within 72 hours.
Further, leveraging the technology, a mobile app, “Cott-Ally” has been developed by CCI for providing latest news regarding weather condition, Crop situation and best farm practices.
A discount of Rs.300/- per candy is being offered by CCI in its regular sale to MSME mills, Khadi and Village industry, Cooperative sector mills to enhance their competitiveness and efficiency.
It was also stated that cotton may be used across all dimension of Technical Textiles.
Further, Irani intimated that the government has passed bills for the welfare of the farmers, which also be beneficial to the industries.
The minister also attended the inaugural session of the webinar organised by TEXPROCIL and CITI on the theme of “NEW-LOOK COTTON” to facilitate the exchange of ideas on the emerging scenarios in cotton usage and application.
Strategically Important Atal Tunnel In Rohtang Open Now
It is the world’s longest tunnel above an altitude of 3,000 metres.
MANALI (Himachal Pradesh): Prime Minister Narendra Modi today inaugurated the strategically important all-weather Atal Tunnel at Rohtang in Himachal Pradesh. PM Modi was accompanied by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh Jai Ram Thakur, Minister of State for Finance Anurag Singh Thakur, Chief of Defence Staff, CDS Gen Bipin Rawat and Army Chief General Manoj Mukund Naravane.
Earlier CDS General Rawat and Army Chief General Naravane received the Prime Minister at the South Portal of Atal Tunnel of Rohtang. Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh Jai Ram Thakur received the PM at Sase Helipad at Manali.
Atal Tunnel, the longest highway tunnel in the world was built by the Border Roads Organisation. The tunnel reduces the distance between Manali and Leh by 46 km and the travel time by four to five hours. The 9.02-km tunnel connects Manali to Lahaul-Spiti valley throughout the year, the valley was earlier cut off for about six months every year due to heavy snowfall.
The Atal Bihari Vajpayee government had taken the decision to construct a strategic tunnel below the Rohtang Pass on June 3, 2000, and the foundation stone for the access road to the south portal of the tunnel was laid on May 26, 2002.
In December 2019, the Government decided to name the Rohtang Tunnel as Atal Tunnel in honour of the former Prime Minister and scholar Atal Bihari Vajpayee who had passed away the previous year.
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- The Atal Tunnel is constructed at an estimated cost of Rs 3500-4000 crores.
- It reduces the distance between Leh and Manali by 46 km, the tunnel will bring down the driving time by around 4 hours.
- The BRO built this tunnel in the shape of a horseshoe.
- It is the world’s longest tunnel above an altitude of 3,000 metres.
- It is a 10.5-metre wide single tube bi-lane tunnel with a fireproof emergency egress tunnel built into the main tunnel itself.
- With the help of this tunnel, connectivity to the remote border areas of Himachal Pradesh and Ladakh will easily be possible, regardless of the weather conditions.
- The opening of the Atal Tunnel will bring a boost in tourism activities in the Lahaul-Spiti region and will also simultaneously create more employment opportunities for locals in the area.
- The tunnel also provides a telephone facility on every 150 meters, a fire hydrant on every 60 meters, an emergency exit on every 500 meters, a turning cavern on every 2.2 km, an air quality monitoring on every 1 km, a broadcasting system, and an automatic incident detection system with CCTV cameras on every 250 meters.
- The construction of this tunnel consumed 14,508 metric tonnes of steel, 2,37,596 metric tonnes of cement, and 14 lakh cubic meters of soil and rocks.
- This tunnel is unique in its own way as it is India’s first tunnel to have an escape tunnel within the main tunnel due to the topography. It is also the first tunnel to deploy the Rowa flyer technology, which allows engineers to work at inverted levels.
Railways Generates 10 Lakh Man-Days Of Employment Under Garib Kalyan Rozgar Abhiyaan
Rs 2190.7 crores have been released to the contractors for the projects being implemented.
NEW DELHI: Indian Railways has generated 10,66,246 man-days of work till September 25, 2020, under Garib Kalyan Rozgar Abhiyaan in 6 States viz. Bihar, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh.
Piyush Goyal, Minister of Railways and Commerce & Industry is closely monitoring the progress made in these projects and generation of work opportunities for the migrant labours of these states under this scheme. Around 164 Railway infrastructure projects are being executed in these states.
Till September 25, 2020, 12,276 workers have been engaged in this Abhiyaan and the payment of Rs 2190.7 crores has been released to the contractors for the projects being implemented.
Railway has appointed nodal officers in each district as well as in the States so that close coordination is established with the State Government.
Railway has identified no. of Railway works which are being executed under this scheme. The works are related to
(i) construction and maintenance of approach roads for level crossings
(ii) development & cleaning of silted waterways, trenches and drains along the track
(iii) construction and maintenance of approach road to railway stations
(iv) repair and widening of existing railway embankments/cuttings
(v) plantation of trees at the extreme boundary of railway land
(vi) protection works of existing embankments/ cuttings/bridges
It may be noted that Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched massive employment-cum-rural public works campaign named Garib Kalyan Rojgar Abhiyaan to empower and provide livelihood opportunities in areas/villages witnessing a large number of returnee migrant workers affected by the devastating COVID-19 on June 20, 2020.
The PM announced that an amount of Rs 50,000 crores would be spent for building durable rural infrastructure under the Garib Kalyan Rojgar Abhiyaan.
This Abhiyaan of 125 days, is being undertaken in mission mode and involves focused implementation of 25 categories of works/ activities in 116 districts, each with a large concentration of returnee migrant workers in 6 states of Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Jharkhand and Odisha.
Public works are being undertaken during this campaign will have a resource envelope of Rs. 50,000 crores.
The Abhiyaan is a convergent effort between 12 different Ministries/Departments, namely; Rural Development, Panchayati Raj, Road Transport & Highways, Mines, Drinking Water & Sanitation, Environment, Railways, Petroleum & Natural Gas, New & Renewable Energy, Border Roads, Telecom and Agriculture, to expedite implementation of 25 public infrastructure works and works relating to augmentation of livelihood opportunities.
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